Smokers now out of luck in 5 Atlantic City Casinos
5 Atlantic City Casinos will be making their entire gambling floor smoke-free in response to a law passed in February which required gambling floors of casinos to be at least 75% smoke-free.
Harrah’s Entertainment, which owns four Atlantic City casinos including Harrah’s Atlantic City, The Showboat Casino & Hotel, Bally’s and Caesars say they will be spending over $7 million to open 2000 square foot smoking lounges to accommodate their smoking customers.
The city’s 11 casinos must tell the state by Saturday how they plan to comply with the law.
Harrah’s Eastern division president J. Carlos Tolosa said today “I believe this smoke-free ordinance provides our industry with a fair transitional guideline for better workplace conditions.”
The City Council in Atlantic City had been set to ban smoking in all the casinos earlier this year but relented under fierce pressure from the industry and its lobbyists, which said it feared losing 20 percent of its revenue and thousands of jobs if it was banned. The law requires physical barriers to prevent smoke from bothering customers and employees in non-smoking areas.
Michele Holcomb, a spokeswoman for the American Cancer Society, said she is encouraged by the trend away from smoky gambling pits.
“People want smoke-free entertainment venues,” she said. “You go to a casino to gamble and dine. You don’t go somewhere to smoke.”
While Atlantic City seems to be getting most of the attention on this no-smoking ban, most casinos nationwide have already been cutting back quite a bit on smoking.
During the early part of the poker boom in 2003 many if not most casinos and poker rooms decided to ban smoking from poker rooms in part to provide a healthier work place environment for their employees and also in part to attract more players and take advantage of the rise in numbers of poker players.
Although smoking is currently banned in most poker rooms through the US, most card rooms allow smokers to simply enter a designated area right next to the poker room which makes it convenient for smokers to quickly get back to their game and also a more pleasurable experience for non-smokers.